In conducting your own family history research you tend to come across records and documents that uncover additional names and places for you to research. It’s never that cut and dry. I have come across one such record.
Previously I had posted that I found a record about a passenger in the Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger List Index Cards, 1883-1948 that might be my grandfather, Mychajlo Iwaniw. That record showed 2 other names that I had never heard of before, Mytro Iwaniw and Kasia Iwaniw. It’s Mytro Iwaniw that piques my interest. The record as shown in Exhibit #1, states that Mychajlo was visiting his brother, Mytro and that Mychajlo’s passage was paid for by said brother.
The interesting part is the birth year. The record in Exhibit #1 shows Mychajlo’s age as 28. This would calculate to 1883 as his birth year. This coincides with my estimation of his birth year based on my Uncle Wasyl’s birth year of 1903. At the time of my Uncle Wasyl’s birth my grandfather would have been about 20 years old. This seems reasonable. So, now I’ve got the birth year for Mychajlo as 1883 (1911 – 28 =1883). Now we need to locate additional documents/records for Mytro (or Mitro or Dmytro) Iwaniw from Pennsylvania. What we come up with is Mytro (Americanized as Mitro) Iwaniw World War I draft registration record as shown in Exhibit #2. In looking at Mytro’s draft registration record you’ll note that his birthday is listed as November 4, 1883. His birth year is 1883, the same as Mychajlo’s. Is it possible that they were twins? Or was their mother gave birth to Mychajlo in January 1883 and got pregnant with Mytro in February 1883. Without actual records it’s all conjecture at this point. It’s all speculation. Documents are what I need to be able to fill in the family history puzzle. I have not been able to locate any records online that cover the year 1883 for the village of Lutowiska. But I’m still searching.
When I was growing up and I would ask my father about my grandfather (my father’s father) I would be told that he died when my father was a baby. My father’s answer was that he died when my father was a baby and he didn’t remember him. OK. I can understand that but my father never related any stories about him that may have been passed down to him. It was as if when my grandfather died he ceased to exist. It was like his life was erased when he died.
I started my family research because I was interested in finding out about my other uncles, Wasyl and Mykola. I had met my Uncle Ivan when he came to visit from Ukraine in the 70’s. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the foresight to ask him for any details about the family or about my grandfather. Opportunities missed are opportunities lost. But at that time I had no interest in researching my family’s history.
So fast-forward a couple of decades (to the 1990’s) and I start to research my family history and like many others just starting out I’m a newbies who really doesn’t know what he’s doing. I started out with in using Family Tree Maker to enter my family information and used the built-in web page builder to publish the information. In doing so I got an e-mail from someone in Australia who told me that her grandfather’s name was also Mychajlo Iwaniw and he was from the village of Lutowiska. Coincidence? Could it be that my grandfather didn’t die as my father told me?
I think one of the things that one has to remember is that divorce was a stigma. It could be that my grandfather divorces my grandmother and instead of telling my father that his father left he was told that he died. That is what I am currently searching for in the old records from Galicia/Poland. Prior to the end of World War I the area where my father was born would have still been considered Galicia and part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was only after 11 November 1918 that the Austro-Hungarian Empire was broken up and Galicia ceased to exist. Technically, my father was born in Galicia, Austria. So, my search involves finding any records containing Mychajlo Iwaniw from Lutowiska from about 1880 through the 1920’s. The record may be in the archives in either Lviv, Ukraine or Przemysl, Poland or both.
This is a case where it may be necessary to hire a professional researcher who is local to the archives and can actually locate all of the relevant records. There has to be either a death record for my grandfather or multiple civil marriage records for him.
In my ongoing research of my family history one of the interesting items I seem to have uncovered is that there were numerous Iwaniw families throughout the Galicia in the old Austro-Hungarian Empire. In just attempting to find records about my own grandfather I came across a few records that matched his name but other data on the records didn’t match up.
Specifically, as I explained in my previous post, More mysteries uncovered, I mentioned 2 separate passenger lists that contained a record for a Mychajlo Iwaniw. There was the NY list that showed Mychajlo Iwaniw arriving at Ellis Island in 1912. This Michajlo’s record shows that he was born in Sloboda. Although the age is close to my grandfather’s estimated age this couldn’t be the same person because all information I have is that my grandfather was from Lutowiska, which is about 3 hours driving from Sloboda.
Now, the other passenger list shows a Mychajlo Iwaniw Iwaniw arriving into the Port of Philadelphia in 1911 and the final destination being the Wilkes-Barre are of Pennsylvania to visit his brother Mytro. This record also shows that this Mychajlo was close to my grandfather’s estimated age. But it also shows that his wife’s name was Kasia Iwaniw. Both of these names from this record are a mystery to me. This is the first time I have seen a reference to either Mytro or Kasia Iwaniw. This record is the one that I started to pursue to look if I can find any records in the old church records from my father’s old church.
I attempted to locate these church records online in order to search them. I’m using the records/catalogues from FamilySearch.org and help from members of the Ukrainian & Galician Genealogy groups on Facebook. The problem with these records so far is that they are NOT indexed so I have to manually view each page and try to find the info that I need. So, my search has expanded to include the following names:
Mychajlo Iwaniw (with a birth father of Wasyl Iwaniw, my great-grandfather)
Mytro (or Dmytro) Iwaniw (with a birth father of Wasyl Iwaniw, my great-grandfather)
Kasia (or a derivative) Iwaniw (with a spouse of Mychajlo or Michael) Iwaniw
One of the things that I found out is that there were quite few Iwaniw families but I cannot determine if any of them are related to my family. I found a record referencing a Wasyl Iwaniw but from a village about 2 hours drive from Lutowiska. Can’t be the same person as my great-grandfather because the information I got from my father was that he was a landowner of a large tract of land in the village. There were records of other Iwaniws whose names I didn’t recognize. They very well may be relatives but I can’t make a connection.
In searching out the name of Iwaniw in FamilySearch.org records the search results will return over 800 records of Iwaniws in the United States and Canada. So, it’s important to stay focused on one path/branch in researching the family history or risk being pulled in countless different directions.
One thing that I am finding out about researching your family history that sometimes one has to dig further to get clarification on information one receives. That was my situation when I received scanned documents from Arolsen Archives about my father. As I detailed in a previous post I had a document about an inquiry on the location of my father. I wrote to the Red Cross asking for more details and clarification. I was interested in finding out who submitted the inquiry and from where. The form seems to come from Moscow.
I received a reply to my inquiry a couple of days ago. However, the reply held no additional information. The reply seemed to be about getting information on my father. They wanted to know if I knew of his location, when was the last time I had contact with him, and what caused my losing contact with him. Strange. But I’ll play the game. I answered the questions and sent the my reply stating that my initial inquiry still has not been answered.
I’m at the point of my research where I am now attempting to search records in Eastern Europe. I have already found records pertaining to my father’s time spent in Germany during WWII. I know that he was forcibly taken from his home to Germany in 1942. I know that he married my mother in 1945 in Sulingen Germany. I have the passenger list showing him and his family arriving into the Port of New York in 1950.
Now I’m trying to locate church records for my grandfather, Michael. Thanks to a couple of people on Galicia Family History Group I was directed to another site called State Archives in Przemysl where I was told records from my father’s church in Lutowiska were stored and scanned. At this point I am just searching for anyone with the surname of Iwaniw. The difficulty is that the handwriting is a very elaborate cursive and some of the writing is very faint. Lastly, none of these records are indexed.
This is one of those family research tasks that are very labor intensive and tedious. I usually only spend about an hour doing this and/or tend to take a lot of breaks. Another problem is that I have no way of knowing if the records are complete.